14 Palestinian security troops, including officers, have been detained over their alleged involvement in the death of prominent activist Nizar Banat, according to his cousin.
“We have been informed that 14 of those who took part in the assassination of Banat are being detained in Jericho,” Ammar Banat told local media.
Fatah loyalists from Mahmoud Abbas’s faction, some of which identified as undercover Palestinian security personnel, attacked demonstrators with sticks and stones as they made their way to Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, West Bank. https://t.co/GgK5g2QTsN
— Samidoun Network (@SamidounPP) July 3, 2021
He added that while the family was given the news early on Thursday, they did not take it seriously. He called on the Palestinian Authority to release the names of those it had arrested.
“We will not allow there to be scapegoats who are made to bear the responsibility of those [actually] involved. All must be held to account for their crimes, actions, and words,” the deceased’s cousin said.
PA security forces spokesman Talal Dweikat confirmed the number arrested in relation to Banat’s death, saying they had been referred to the judiciary pending “completion of the investigation procedures”, WAFA reported.
Palestinians have protested for several days, demanding President Mahmoud Abbas resign.
Palestinian activist Nizar Banat died in the custody of the Palestinian Authority on June 24 after security forces broke into a relative's home and beat Banat with a metal rod. pic.twitter.com/wSmrZzGcIW
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 3, 2021
The arrests follow a preliminary probe into Banat’s death by a high-level PA committee, reportedly assembled by intelligence and military authorities.
The 43-year-old, an outspoken critic of the PA, died in PA custody last Thursday soon after dozens of security forces stormed his home in Hebron to arrest him.
PA Justice Minister Muhammad Shalalda, the committee’s head, told official Palestine TV that Banat had been subject to physical violence and that his death was “unnatural”.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)